Takeoff of West African Monetary Zone to be delayed

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The realisation of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) will take longer than anticipated, according to the Director General of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), Michael Ojo.
   Speaking at the West African Bankers Association Day in Lagos Thursday, Ojo said the project would not take off as scheduled in 2003 because of the non-attainment of the convergence criteria by member States.
   He said so far, not a single country had complied with the convergence criteria, and blamed the situation on macro-economic instability and civil conflicts in the sub-region.
   "The progress in the harmonisation of statistics in the zone has been minimal.
   "All the countries are still in the early stages of planning, capacity building and resource mobilisation needed to enhance the quality of their databases," Ojo added.
   WAMZ, the fast-track approach to monetary integration in the West African sub-region, was adopted at the Summit of Heads of State and government of the countries in the sub-region in Bamako, Mali, in 2000.
   Under the approach, five West African countries - Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone (with Cape Verde and Liberia as observers) - agreed to form a second monetary union.
WAMZ is to operate a common currency and along with the eight-nation West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) now using the CFA francs, form a single ECOWAS currency by 2004, as part of the sub-regional integration.
   Ojo said the political commitment to the programme had not been adequately backed up by the implementation of appropriate measures.
   But he said WAMZ had however helped to refocus the direction of the ECOWAS integration process which had been stalled a few years ago.
   "The articulation of the various frameworks, studies and periodic reports permitted top-level officials to appreciate the enormity of the issues involved in the integration process," the WAMI boss said.

16 august 2002 16:11:00

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